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Thread: Is there an ORB of flights under the Director of Technical Development, Air Ministry

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    Default Is there an ORB of flights under the Director of Technical Development, Air Ministry

    Is there an ORB recording the flights carried out under the Director of Technical Development (DTD) of the Air Ministry, please?

    According to a Fighter Command AIR 16 file, the DTD of the Air Ministry had various types and makes of aircraft at Boscombe Down in daily and nightly use in 1940, but I cannot find the ORB, recording the flights carried out by the DTD?

    There are two main Boscombe Down ORBs:- BAT & DU and the A & AEE Form 540 which I have seen, but no detail of the flying work carried out and no Form 541 either.

    I believe the DTD flights were under direct Air Ministry control?

    The "B.A.T.D.U. (A. & A.E.E.)" units came under 23 Group and F.T. Command according to a couple of Flying Accident Cards I have seen.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 26th August 2012 at 23:10. Reason: add information BATDU & A&AEE under 23 Group

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    Mark,
    I do not doubt that the DTD and the testing establishments you are interested were definitiely quite different animals, but they were probably well known to one another, and were indeed on quite friendly terms. The DTD was just a part of the sprawling bureaucracy that was the Air Ministry, and they would rely on the technical skills and intuition of the personnel (any military, plus the large number of civilians) that made up the scientists and technicians who manned the testing establishments that acted as the "coal face" of the testing and acceptance for service part of the equation. Actually the DTD was probably more about defining and improving the new aircraft on order for the RAF and probably had a lot to do with drawing up the specifications for new types to put to the manufacturers of aircraft, as well as ditto for materials and accessories. I presume the AID also came under the DTD (or the MAP?), but I will leave it to others with greater depth of knowledge to comment further, as I could be talking myself into a hole here!
    David D

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    Mark

    The short answer to your question is, alas, no. The Director(ate) of Technical Development (or DGRD, AMDP, AMSR depending on period) at the Air Ministry (or later MAP) could authorise the issue of aircraft for test purposes to any number of experimental establishments. Not just A&AEE, but RAE, engine makers, aircraft companies, AGME, TDU (and its derivatives) and a host of others. It did not however authorise individual flights.
    DTD was a directorate (or Director) within the ministry so would not keep an ORB, but most of the units to which it issued aircraft did. However, since they didn’t do any operational flying you shouldn’t expect a F541. Ultimately the output of these experimental establishments takes the form of reports (many at Kew), rather than flight-by-flight reporting. RAE is an exception – its flying log is also at Kew. DTD (and D.Arm.D) also produced quarterly progress reports which give a good view of the directorate’s programme up to the outbreak of war (also at Kew and, I think, Hendon).
    Is there something specific you’re looking for?
    HTH
    Niall

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    Just to add to Niall's response, Mark, the Farnborough file to which he refers is AVIA 1. It covers 1914-1954 and I've found it very useful for some WW1 projects I've been researching.

    Brian

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    Thank you David, Niall and Brian

    Dowding was complaining that various Units were flying and armed, but that the Units and DTD, Boscombe Down were not under Fighter Command Control and he was trying to establish their authority to open fire, to defend themselves and wanted them to come under Fighter Command control, to avoid friendly aircraft being engaged.

    I have seen a few Reports at TNA, Kew, but due to the quantity I would have to be very lucky indeed to drop on all the Reports of work being conducted in July and August 1940. I understand the TNA WW2 Reports are still acruing from MoD.

    FAST Farnborough Air Sciences Trust have about 5,000 Reports apparently, but before they took over charge of them and the Farnborough Archives, the MoD from Boscombe Down removed about 5,000 Reports back to Boscombe Down.

    I have the Farnborough ORB scanned for several months and I noted that they were flying a GAF aircraft down from Scotland (from memory).

    The A & AEE ORB Boscombe Down only gives aircraft serials alloted to them and from them, usually with the from and to place also given.

    Various aircraft (reported in the Winchester Observer Corps Centre Log Book) were being flown about, a Spitfire with clipped wings, a Whitley and other aircraft etc.

    I was led to believe that the Air Ministry also had to have an ORB / 541 record of their flights they authorised which agrees with Kings Regs. Agree, that some could be recorded by individual Units, but some flights are not in some Units Form 540.

    I saw one AVIA 1 Log Book, but the flights I had seen mentioned briefly, are not in their Log.

    William Scott Farren (knighted at some point) worked in MAP as the Director of Technical Development from 1940.

    Regards Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 27th August 2012 at 11:19.

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